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Full text of "The monument to Robert Gould Shaw : its inception, completion, and unveiling, 1865-1897"

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1865 — 1897 


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N the autumn of 1865 a meeting was held 
in the council chamber at the State House, 
at the call of Governor Andrew, Dr. Sam- 
uel G. Howe, Senator Charles Sumner, 
Colonel Henry Lee, Mr. J. B. Smith, and 
others, to consider the matter of a suitable memorial to 
Robert G. Shaw, the late commander of the Massachu- 
setts Fifty-fourth Regiment. The prime mover in this 
matter was doubtless the late Joshua B. Smith, a fugitive 
from slavery, who after his escape had been in the ser- 
vice of Colonel Shaw's family before he took the position 
of repute as the successful caterer, in which he became 
so well known in Boston. The purpose of the meeting 
was declared in the following words : — 

" The monument is intended not only to mark the 
public gratitude to the fallen hero, who at a critical mo- 
ment assumed a perilous responsibility, but also to com- 
memorate that great event, wherein he was a leader, by 
which the title of colored men as citizen-soldiers was 
fixed beyond recall. In such a work all who honor 
youthful dedication to a noble cause and who rejoice in 
the triumph of freedom should have an opportunity to 

I was not myself present at that meeting. A com- 


history of mittee was appointed to carry this purpose into effect, 
monument consisting of John A. Andrew, chairman ; Charles Sum- 
ner, Joshua B. Smith, Henry P. Kidder, Charles R. Cod- 
man, Henry W. Longfellow, James L. Little, William W. 
Clapp, Jr., Charles Beck, William G. Weld, Leonard A. 
Grimes, Royal E. Robbins, Robert E. Apthorp, Francis 
W. Bird, Edward W. Kinsley, George B. Loring, Alan- 
son W. Beard, Solomon B. Stebbins, Robert K. Darrah ; 
Charles W. Slack, secretary. 

As I am informed, there had been some difference 
of opinion as to the kind of statue or memorial which 
should be procured. At the request of Senator Sumner 
I undertook to serve as the treasurer, with the under- 
standing that my sole duty would be the custody of 
the funds. I believe that no one was ever asked to 
subscribe; all the contributions have been of a purely 
voluntary character, most gladly given. Within the next 
two or three months after the meeting the sum of three 
thousand one hundred and sixty-one dollars ($3161) had 
been placed in my hands. 

The death of Governor Andrew soon after occurred, 
and later several of the chief promoters of this memorial, 
including Senator Sumner, passed away. The interest 
in the subject appeared to have ceased for the moment. 

In 1876 the fund had reached a little over seven thou- 
sand dollars ($7000) by investment and reinvestment. 

As there appeared to be no effective committee in 
charge of this matter, and believing that a small, well- 
chosen committee would be more likely to act in a judi- 
cious manner than a large one, the suggestion was made 
to all the subscribers to appoint Messrs. John M. Forbes, 
Henry Lee, and Martin P. Kennard as such committee, 
and their written assent and approval were obtained 

Some previously unpaid subscriptions were then called 


in and several additional subscriptions were volunteered, history of 

, , n • i r i THE SHAW 

so that the total amount actually received from subscn- monument 
bers was raised a trifle over seventy-five hundred dollars 
($75 21 )- The names of the subscribers were as follows: 

George C. Ward, Mrs. Lydia Jackson, Hon. Charles 
Sumner, Mrs. John E. Lodge, N. Livermore & Son, Mrs. 
Maria Weston Chapman, William G. Weld, Samuel G. 
Ward, S. N. Havens, John Fenno Tudor, Henry Sturgis 
Grew, and George O. Hovey, of Boston, Mass.; Richard 
Warren Weston, Horace Gray, Lucius Tuckerman, 
Edward F. Davison, Daniel C. Bacon, and Robert B. 
Minturn, of New York, N. Y. ; F. J. Child, Robert B. 
Storer, James Russell Lowell, and Charles E. Norton, of 
Cambridge, Mass. ; Edward Atkinson, Henry Lee, and 
Martin P. Kennard, of Brookline, Mass.; Alexander H. 
Bullock and Ichabod Washburn, of Worcester, Mass.; 
Samuel May, Jr., and Mrs. J. C. Gunn, of Leicester, 
Mass.; Zenas M. Crane, of Dalton, Mass.; John M. 
Forbes, of Milton, Mass. ; Edmund Tweedy, of Mil- 
waukee, Wis.; Robert Ferguson, of Morton, Carlisle, 

In 1883 the fund having reached nearly seventeen 
thousand dollars ($17,000), it seemed to be time to move 
for the execution of the work. A desire had been ex- 
pressed to me by Senator Sumner that the work should 
consist of a statue of Colonel Shaw mounted, in very 
high relief upon a large bronze tablet. 

A suitable place for such a work seemed to be in the 
curve on the front of the State House where a tablet of 
moderate size could be placed in the wall, rising a little 
above it with a seat at the level of the sidewalk. Appli- 
cation was made through Governor Long, with his hearty 
approval, for a right to place the tablet at this point 
if such a work should be executed, and was cheerfully 


history of Happening to call upon my neighbor and friend, the 

monument l ate H. H. Richardson, he desired to know what action 
had been taken, if any, having a great personal interest 
in his memory of Colonel Shaw and being desirous that 
the work should be one of highest merit. On the sub- 
mission of the plan for an alto-relievo in front of the 
State House, he gave his most earnest assent, offering 
his services to do the architectural work and suggesting 
Augustus St. Gaudens as the sculptor, whose statue of 
Admiral Farragut had so lately called attention to his 
great skill. 

It was then suggested to the committee that the surest 
way to carry out our plans would be to select an artist 
without confusing ourselves with any competition. The 
contract was accordingly made with Mr. St. Gaudens on 
February 23, 1884, in the hope and expectation that an 
alto-relievo suitable to the place chosen would be put in 
position in two years. But as Mr. St. Gaudens dealt 
with the subject it grew upon him in its importance, and 
with that conscientious spirit which marks the true artist 
he has devoted the better part of twelve years to con- 
stant thought and work upon his grand design. 

As the artist's conception developed, the size of the 
panel became too great for the space originally chosen. 
The suggestion was then made by the late Arthur Rotch 
to place it on the Common between the two great trees 
where it now stands. 

Mr. Charles F. McKim, the architect who succeeded 
Mr. Richardson as the artist's adviser, had become greatly 
interested in the matter and had volunteered his services 
for the architectural work. How great this service had 
been could not become apparent until the unveiling. 
Suffice it that the architectural design is on the high 
plane of the bronze tablet which it sustains. His admi- 
rable design having been sketched, an application was 


made by Mr. George von L. Meyer, then an alderman of history of 
the city of Boston, for an appropriation on the part of monument 
the city for the construction of the terrace and stone 
work in which the bronze tablet has now been placed 
upon the Common. With judicious liberality a contract 
was made by the City Government with Norcross Bro- 
thers for the execution of this work, at a cost of nearly 
twenty thousand dollars ($20,000). 

In this long interval, the funds which were placed on 
deposit in the New England Trust Company as soon as 
the contract had been made have gradually accumulated, 
until the original subscriptions of a little over seventy- 
five hundred dollars ($7521) will yield nearly twenty- 
three thousand dollars ($23,000). But even then, when 
the artist shall have paid the heavy cost of casting in 
bronze, and also paid for all the necessary skilled work 
required in preparing for the founder, he may secure to 
his own use and benefit only the fair day's wages of a 
good stonecutter or stucco worker for the time which 
during the term he has devoted to this the great effort 
of his lifetime. Even that is doubtful, because with that 
conscientious determination to have everything right 
and suitable he has felt compelled to change in some 
respects the design of the marble frame and the form 
of the lettering, so that there may be extra charges in- 
curred by his orders to the amount of two thousand or 
three thousand dollars ($3000) in the construction of the 
terrace and the marble framework above the contract, 
which perhaps it will be suitable for the city to defray 
in view of the credit and honor which is sure to come to 
Boston in the possession of such an imperishable work. 

It is not often that one who has no artistic aptitude 
comes into such close relation with the evolution of a 
monument. Had I the right knowledge of technical 
terms, I should be inclined to give a little account of my 


history of observations during the progress of this memorial. Few 
monument persons can have the slightest conception of the energy 
which a great artist must expend, not only in the con- 
ception of the work itself, but in the actual effort, physi- 
cal, mechanical, and manual, which is necessary to bring 
that conception into imperishable bronze ; the amount 
of work required from skilled workmen under the super- 
vision of the artist in the process of converting his own 
conception from the clay model, first into plaster, then 
into the mould, and lastly, into the bronze, is something 
of which the writer for one had no previous conception. 

For the rest, the work will speak for itself. The com- 
mittee and the treasurer alike sometimes feared that the 
artist might not live long enough to complete this great 
work. Now that it is done, and that they themselves 
will have the satisfaction of placing it in the custody of 
the city and the State, they feel that they will have been 
fully justified and that their method of procuring this 
monument may be approved. 

Of the twenty-one members of the original committee 
appointed to take action in the matter, but four now sur- 

Among the misgivings of the treasurer while watch- 
ing the progress of this work in the mere process of 
manufacture had been the fear that so extensive and 
difficult a casting might fail in its execution ; but when 
the contract was made with the Gorham Manufacturing 
Company, his anxiety was almost wholly removed, and 
his previous fears have proved to be without cause. 

Some exceptions have been taken to the decision of 
the committee to have the addresses made in the Music 
Hall rather than at the monument itself ; but after full 
consideration of the matter, and in view of the present 
condition of the State House and the grounds, there 
seemed to be no alternative. The space which would 


have remained available for those who have the direct history of 
and most personal interest in this matter, after providing monument 
for ofHcials and for the passing of the military at the 
monument, was found to be wholly insufficient for any 
suitable arrangements in the open air. 

The committee and the treasurer, representing the 
subscribers, have been placed by the circumstances of 
the case in the position of hosts, inviting the authorities 
of the city, the State, and other guests to be present at 
the unveiling of the monument. The writer may be 
permitted to say that most careful supervision has been 
given, especially by Colonel Lee, to the distribution of 
the tickets to the hall, to the end that no one might be 
forgotten who had even a remote claim to be present ; 
yet it may happen that some have been overlooked. 

The committee requested General Francis H. Apple- 
ton, of the governor's staff, to act as chief marshal, and 
to his most effective preparation are due the excellent 
arrangements for the military parade on Decoration Day 
and for caring for the guests in the hall. 

It is in order that those who were present may have 
knowledge of all the facts and of the names of the sub- 
scribers, so few of whom are living, that this statement is 
now submitted. 

The service of Mr. John B. Seward should be recog- 
nized ; he has kept the accounts and held supervision 
over all matters connected with the trust, in order that 
there might be no confusion in case of accident to the 

Edward Atkinson, 
Treasurer Shaw Monument Fund. 
Boston, May 22, 1897. 


PON the bronze an inscription taken by the artist from 
the seal of the Society of the Cincinnati of which 
Colonel Robert G. Shaw was a member : 



Underneath the main bronze : 






Underneath, the verse of James Russell Lowell : 



INSCRIPTIONS Upon the back of the frame of the tablet the following inscription 
SHAW T MONU- C °™t° Sedb y CharleS W - Eli0t: 

















Underneath, upon the back of the terrace are the names of the five 
officers of the regiment who with Colonel Shaw were hilled in 
battle or died while in the service : 






Immediately underneath these names is given an extract from the INSCRIPTIONS 

address of Governor Andrew on the departure of the regiment : UPON THE 



On the marble at one end of the terrace the words of Mrs. Water- 
ston : 


On the marble at the other end of the terrace the words of Emer- 




MAY 30, 1897 




,TU DENTS of Harvard University, and 
men of the Grand Army of the Republic, 
to-morrow, the Decoration Day of this year, 
will be made memorable by the unveiling 
of Mr. Augustus St. Gaudens' monument 
to Colonel Robert G. Shaw and to the officers and men 
of the 54th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers ; and 
by an address delivered in the Music Hall of Boston, 
by Professor William James, one of whose brothers was 
adjutant of the 54th and another an officer of the 55th 
Regiment — both regiments colored troops ; and still 
further by an address from Booker T. Washington, Prin- 
cipal of the Institute at Tuskegee, Alabama. 

To us it is a joyful day, for each year it marks the 
memories of comrades whose intelligence showed to them 
the right course, whose hearts approved it, and whose 
characters enabled them to take and keep it unflinch- 

Decoration Day is their day, and all the rest of the 
year belongs to you. 

To-day I wish to talk to you of the 54th Regiment 
Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry colored, commanded 
by Colonel Robert Shaw, and of slavery, which, as a 
deadly poison to our nation, they strove to remove. 


address by Any word of mine which may seem harsh to our bro- 

lee higginson thers of the South has no such meaning or feeling. The 
sin of slavery was national, and caused the sin of dis- 
union. Together we wiped out with our blood these two 
great wrongs long ago, and we also wiped out all unkind 

I for one feel sure of this last fact, and think that it 
has been helped by the conviction that our blows were 
aimed at the sins of slavery and of disunion, and not at 
our opponents. 

My reason for speaking of slavery is to show you the 
thoughts and faith of our youth, the conditions surround- 
ing it, and the results to us as men. 

My reason for speaking of the 54th Regiment is to 
set forth the devotion and great courage of its officers 
and men, for they knew full well that they should suffer 
the dislike of many Northerners and the extreme ire of 
Southerners ; and yet they dared all — and by their high 
bearing and conduct made an epoch in a very troubled 

My reason for asking leave to say a few words about 
Robert Shaw is that we, his comrades, respected and ad- 
mired him more and more as time went on. Won at 
first by his great gift of personal charm, we were held 
fast by his high, simple, and loyal character. No doubt 
our country had many such, and indeed both armies were 
rilled with men who, seeking nothing for themselves, did 
their duty well and then went quietly back to their homes. 
But Robert Shaw, while happy and content in his own 
regiment, nevertheless chose the nobler part of serving 
at the post of greatest danger and of obloquy, and thus 
helped the negroes to a standing unknown and indeed 
denied to them heretofore. 

Therefore we held Robert Shaw dear, and so I would 
speak to you of him. If you think my words those of a 


friend and a lover, I can only answer that if you had address by 
known him, you also would have loved him as we did. lee higginson 

To many people of New England in the decades be- 
fore i860, the ideas and tenets of the Puritan church 
and the Constitution of the United States were the foun- 
dation stones of their faith, — not to be questioned, not 
even examined. These people received their religion and 
their morality ready made, and both of them in conform- 
ity with the established ideas ; and they were content. 
If any one dissented and cared to think for himself, he 
was dangerous, and therefore in a degree ostracized. 
This was natural and safe, and yet cowardly, even para- 
lyzing, for the world cannot stand still without decay. 
Yet even then the transcendentalists had come and the 
abolitionists were talking hotly, and the younger genera- 
tion was listening, and thinking for itself ; and the storm 
was brewing. The love of the Constitution was admira- 
ble, and the wish to leave undisturbed so knotty a ques- 
tion as slavery natural and perhaps wise ; but the question 
could not be let alone. In the course of nature, slavery 
had either to grow larger or smaller ; and if smaller, then 
its existence was endangered. This point the Southern 
statesmen — keen-eyed and long-headed, clever men — 
clearly saw, and therefore pushed on their policy of exten- 
sion ; but just through their very eagerness they failed. 
If they had moved more slowly, they might have delayed 
the conflict, which was, however, inevitable. 

No one living at that time, and hating slavery of any 
kind, can forget the stern hand with which many good 
men and women repressed freedom of thought, and more 
especially thought of slavery. It was a daily pain to meet 
one's friends and companions, and be constantly visited 
with their displeasure or contempt or neglect if one ven- 
tured to disapprove the course of public affairs in this 
regard. On the other side were a few idealists or quiet 


address by folks, who, though hating slavery, spoke of the anti-slavery 
lee^gginson cause as hopeless, and of the United States as irretriev- 
ably given over to a deadly sin ; and the abolitionists, who, 
most intemperate in their language, demanded the instant 
abolition of slavery or the breaking of the Union, — al- 
most preferably the latter. 

Then came the Fugitive Slave law, under which run- 
away slaves were arrested, tried here, and sent back to 
their owners ; the last and bitterest case being that of 
Anthony Burns, who, guarded by a marshal's posse of 
hired roughs, by United States troops and by our best 
Massachusetts militia, acting from a sense of duty and in 
obedience to law, was marched from the Court House in 
Boston to the United States revenue cutter lying at the 
wharf and bound for Virginia. 

Charles Sumner, speaking his mind in an unwise 
fashion before the United States Senate, was beaten in 
his seat by a Southern representative, and the foolish and 
brutal act was applauded by some good people of our town. 

The territories of Kansas and Nebraska were thrown 
open to slavery, and the Southerners tried to fasten 
slavery on them. But it was too much, and human nature 
revolted ; and although the slaveholders had the counte- 
nance of the United States authorities and troops, they 
were pushed out by the Northern men. 

To cap all, our bulwark, the United States Supreme 
Court, delivered the famous Dred Scott decision, — only 
Judge Curtis dissenting. 

It declared that by our Constitution negroes were 
not citizens of the United States, and that they had 
never had any rights which the white man was bound to 
respect; and that they might justly and lawfully be 
enslaved for their own good. 

All this time what were the young men, whose souls 
were rilled with these horrors, saying and doing ? 


They could not go along with the abolitionists ; they address by 
could not go along with the men who despaired of their lee^iggjnson 
country's virtue and wisdom. 

A man cannot give up his mother, cannot blush for 
his sweetheart, cannot deny his God. In a moment of 
weakness or doubt he may try to do these things, but he 
will fail. 

The young men were growing up, were thinking hard, 
aching all over, were telling themselves that their elders 
were passing from the stage, and they themselves were 
coming on it — and they were quietly swearing that 
truth and freedom should win. They must gather 
strength and learn patience, — even learn it patiently, — 
and be ready for their day, which was near at hand. 

At last came the struggle, the election of Lincoln, the 
secession of one State after another, the attack on a 
United States fort and soldiers ; and men, springing to 
their feet, thanked God that at last the beginning of the 
end was in sight, and that the rending of our beloved 
country through slavery should cease. It was a great 
relief to many patient people ; but the nation had still 
much to do and to bear. 

The abolitionists stood aloof, refusing to help, unless 
slavery was at once abolished by law. They even clam- 
ored to " let the wayward Southern sisters go in peace," 
and convinced many good people of the wisdom of this 

The mass of Northern citizens stood only on keeping 
the Union whole ; and most of our young soldiers, 
refusing to touch the question of slavery, or to trench 
on the rights of the slaveholders, enlisted in order to 
save their country. Our President called on the loyal 
States for troops, and the great war began, — a war which, 
caused by slavery, was waged chiefly to uphold the 


address by integrity of the United States. Such was the thought 

^mGGiNSON and feeling of the North. 

But the yeast was in the dough and was working ; and 
as the fearful struggle between the two great sections of 
the nation went on, with ever varying fortunes, we saw 
clearly by the light of the camp-fires that our govern- 
ment, based on a system of slavery, could not exist in 
peace and health. While the nation was learning this 
truth, our great President was patiently biding his time ; 
and at last, seeing that the hour for casting off slavery by 
law had come, issued the Emancipation Proclamation. 
Although the war was then eighteen months old, this 
step was a shock to many excellent Northern citizens 
who did not see that all reason for the upholding of 
slavery had ceased. " The mills of the gods grind 
slowly, but they grind exceeding small." 

Only those living in the early days of '61 can guess at 
the fever-heat, the enthusiasm and loyalty glowing in our 
people at that time and which burst forth at the Presi- 
dent's first call for troops. The first regiments to march 
felt the full force of this tide, and among them was the 
splendid 7th Regiment, New York National Guard, the 
pride of that city. In this regiment Robert Shaw 
served as a private soldier. As it swung out from Union 
Square into Broadway, it was greeted with a roar which 
lasted all the way to the Battery, where it embarked, and 
Robert Shaw, the flank man of his platoon, was seized 
and kissed by man after man, as they marched down 

He served his thirty days in Maryland and Washing- 
ton, and then was commissioned in the 2d Regiment 
Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. 

It was the first regiment enlisted for three years or 
the war and accepted by the United States, and in it I 
had the honor to serve. During the early days of camp 


life, May, '61, at Brook Farm in West Roxbury, I first address by 
saw Robert Shaw, and was captivated by him, as most lee^igginson 
people were. 

Let me tell you how he looked : his figure was 
firmly and closely knit, rather short and erect, and his 
gait and movements alert. His features were delicate 
and well-cut, and set off by a fine complexion and win- 
ning, merry blue eyes and golden hair, — a very hand- 
some man. He had charming, easy, frank manners, and 
gay, yet thoughtful ways. Every one liked him, and all 
trusted him implicitly. He did his full share of the new 
and severe work, and brightened life by his droll words 
and his cheerful smiles. 

We young fellows, full of enthusiasm and bent only on 
defending our country, had been drawn by an irresistible 
impulse into the service. We could not stay at home, 
and were very eager to make ourselves soldiers. 

We were fortunate in learning our first lessons from 
two well-trained and able West Point officers, Colonel 
George H. Gordon and Lieutenant-Colonel George L. 
Andrews, who spared neither themselves nor us in every 
detail of duty. 

And so we worked away in camp, and marched on 
July 8, 1 86 1, through Boston; were taken to New 
York, Philadelphia, and Hagerstown, and thence marched 
to Virginia and Harper's Ferry. There the engine- 
house of the United States Armory, within whose walls 
John Brown had been captured, was our guard-house ; 
and among other daily duties our regiment was ordered 
to stop runaway slaves and give them up to their owners 
who might claim them. It was a great trial to Robert 
Shaw as to many of us, but we had just sworn obedience 
to the United States, and had no recourse from this 

The summer and early fall were spent in the usual 


address by duties of soldiers, — except that of fighting, — but we 
lee^hgg^nson g ot the needed training, the habits which insure involun- 
tary obedience and efficiency ; and we learned the proper 
care of our own health and that of our men. Each 
officer vied with the others in raising the standard of 
work, and Robert Shaw did his full share, enlivening it 
with his gayety and his very presence. Now and again 
came an alarm or a little picket-firing, and late in October 
we had a sharp night march to Ball's Bluff, with high 
hopes of a good fight ; but we arrived only in time to see 
the wounded men who had been rescued from death or 

After some months of service, Major Greely Curtis, 
Captain Motley, and I were commissioned in the ist 
Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Cavalry, and thus 
were parted from our old friends. We rarely met Robert 
Shaw after that, but we watched the course of the 2d 
Massachusetts Regiment, gloried in its splendid service, 
and mourned for its great losses at the battles of Win- 
chester, Cedar Mountain, Antietam, and Gettysburg. 

Except during a few months on the staff of General 
Gordon, our first Colonel, Robert Shaw served contin- 
uously with the 2d Massachusetts. It was his school 
and home for nearly two years, and its honor is his 
honor. It served in Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsyl- 
vania, and had a foremost part in many of our great 
battles there until the fall of '63, when it was sent West 
to serve under General Grant in the Chattanooga cam- 
paign, and finally marched with Sherman to the sea and 
to North Carolina, where Johnston's army surrendered 
to the Federal army under Sherman. 

Four years to a day after this regiment went into 
camp at Brook Farm, it entered Richmond, May 11, 
1865. The war had been fought out, President Lincoln 
had been killed, and peace ruled once more throughout 


our land. It had marched from Boston with 38 com- address by 

missioned officers and 1040 enlisted men, whose num- leeShgginson 

bers were increased several times by recruits. It took 

into Richmond four of the original officers and less 

than one hundred enlisted men. Its record is that it 

never left a position in battle until ordered to do so by 

its brigade commander. More cannot be said for 


One morning in February, '63, as our regiment, the 
1st Massachusetts Cavalry, lay in camp before Freder- 
icksburg, Robert Shaw and Charles Morse, who also 
was a fine officer of the 2d Massachusetts, rode up to the 
little log-house in which Greely Curtis and I lived. 
We four had marched from Boston together, had lived 
and worked together, and were held together by strong 
bonds. Robert Shaw, who was very fond of Greely 
Curtis, came to tell us that he was going home to be 
colonel of the 54th Massachusetts Infantry, colored. 
This was great news, indeed a real event in our lives, 
for we all knew how much Robert cared for his own 
regiment, the 2d Massachusetts, how fond he was of his 
old comrades, and how contrary to his wishes this move 

Sure of all this, and knowing well the full significance 
and nobility of the step, we two troopers expressed our 
strong approval and sympathy with his action, which 
greatly pleased him, for at that date plenty of good 
people frowned on the use of colored troops. Bob said, 
" Governor Andrew has asked me, and I am going ; but 
if either of you fellows will go, I '11 gladly serve under 
you. I don't want the higher rank." We should have 
been glad to serve under him, but had our duty to per- 
form in our own regiment ; and so we could only bid 
him good-by. 

From the beginning of the war, our great Governor 


address by Andrew had thought that colored men should be 
lee^igg^nson enlisted as soldiers, and at last, after many urgent pleas 
from his eloquent lips, had got leave from the War De- 
partment to raise such a regiment in Massachusetts. 
Looking around for a commander, he had lighted on 
Robert Shaw, and asked his father, Mr. Francis G. 
Shaw, to take the offer to his son. Robert refused, 
doubting his own capacity, and his father went home. 
Next day Robert talked the matter over with his com- 
manding officer, who assured him of his entire fitness 
for the task, and therefore he telegraphed to Governor 
Andrew his acceptance of the offer. 

He writes at this time to his mother : " I feel con- 
vinced I shall never regret having taken this step, as 
far as I myself am concerned ; for while I was undecided 
I felt ashamed of myself, as if I were cowardly." It was 
all in accord with his nature. He had a singularly 
simple, direct, earnest, true mind and character. He 
held strong opinions and beliefs which governed him, 
and was not tortured with doubts as so many people are. 
He took things as they came, and did the plain duty 
ready to his hand. He thought for himself ; revolted 
at the sight of injustice or cruelty ; was full of courage 
and manliness, and enriched and warmed his own life 
and that of others by his sympathy and affection. Not 
a sign of fanaticism or of sentimentality, but a deep, 
true and warm reverence for goodness and nobility in 
men and women, was always present and expressed. 
He had been fortunate in parents who held high and 
generous views of life, and who brought up their 
large family in the same spirit. Our land is to-day the 
richer for the work and the lives of this family circle, 
— of brilliant soldiers, scholars, public citizens, — Mr. 
Francis G. Shaw, General Francis C. Barlow, Colonel 
Charles R. Lowell, George William Curtis, and Robert 


B. Minturn, — and the name of one woman now living is address by 
always heard throughout our land when good deeds are lee^igchnson 

During his camp life with the 2d Massachusetts, 
Robert Shaw, following his natural bent, had turned to 
the men of the highest character and ideas, and he gave 
them his confidence and affection. They in their turn 
loved him for his charms and his great virtues. In those 
days he never seemed to be a distinguished man, and 
yet even then a rare man. He was like a day in June, 
sweet, wholesome, vigorous, breezy. 

But his qualities of which I speak blended so well that 
they carried him straight forward to a great work, and 
thus to high honor. With plenty of brains, he never- 
theless was chiefly distinguished through his character, 
which is by far the finer and rarer gift. 

My words fail to give a full picture of the man. Lis- 
ten to a letter written just after Robert Shaw's death by 
one fellow-officer of the 2d Massachusetts to another. 
The writer had met Robert Shaw first in camp at Brook 
Farm, had served by his side for two years, and was 
himself a high-minded, simple-hearted, loyal soldier and 
gentleman, who had just distinguished himself highly at 
Gettysburg. He writes : — 

" I suppose it was as great a shock to you as it was to 
me, Bob Shaw's death ; it seemed almost impossible to 
realize it. 

" I never had any one's death come home to me so, as 
his did. I never knew a fellow I liked so much nor could 
sympathize with so fully. He had such a happy dispo- 
sition that it was always pleasant to be near him. I 've 
often in camp gone into his tent to sit and read, when 
neither of us would say a word for an hour, merely for 
this reason. 


address by " I have accepted it as a natural consequence when 

lee HiGGmsoN other g ood fellows have been killed, but Bob's death I 
can't get over. I don't think I ever knew any one who 
had everything so in his favor for a happy life. 

" Not looking at it selfishly, his death was certainly a 
glorious one. Very few officers have had such a chance 
to distinguish themselves, nor will be so well remem- 
bered. His regiment must have done nobly." 

This is a letter to Colonel Greely Curtis from Colonel 
Charles Morse of the 2d Massachusetts, who sits among 
you ; and is but what we all felt about our dear and 
happy comrade. 

When Robert Shaw reached the camp of the 54th 
Regiment at Readville in February, he took up his task 
with both hands, and thoroughly trained himself, and 
ably assisted by all his officers he made his regiment 
ready for service by the end of May, a regiment with 
which he was well content. On the 2d of May, '63, he 
was married, and on the 28th of May, the 54th broke 
camp and came to Boston to take the steamer for South 

I would say a word of his white officers, with Colonel 
Norwood Hallowell and Colonel Edward Hallowell at 
the head of the list. They were young fellows, many of 
whom had already been serving in other regiments, while 
some were fresh from college or other pursuits. It was 
a very fine body of officers, who had looked their work 
in the face and were doing it well. 

Can you see those brave black men, well-drilled and 
disciplined, proud of themselves, proud of their hand- 
some colonel (he was only twenty-six years old) and 
of their gallant, earnest young white officers, marching 
through crowded streets in order to salute Governor 
Andrew, their true friend, standing before the State 

3 2 

House surrounded by his staff of chosen and faithful address by 

aids ; and then once more marching to the steamer at L ee higginson 

Battery Wharf, while thousands of men and women 

cheered them — the despised race — to the echo as they 

went forth to blot out with their own blood the sin of 

the nation ? Every negro knew that he ran other and 

greater risks than the soldiers of the white regiments ; 

and still more, every one of those white officers knew 

that even at the hands of many, many Northern officers 

and men he would not receive equal treatment. 

Such had been the opinion and feeling even in our own 
State, but the tide here had turned ; turned through the 
courage and character of our great Governor, through 
the disinterestedness and devotion of these very white 
officers ; turned by the power of God Almighty. 

The 54th Regiment did its regular service and some 
sharp fighting, but Colonel Shaw was constantly seeking * 

a chance to put his men to a severe trial by the side of 
tried white troops ; and he was sure of the result. " I 
do hope they will give us a chance," he said. On July 
18, an assault on Fort Wagner was ordered, and the 
lead was offered by General Strong to Colonel Shaw, 
who eagerly seized the chance. 

The assault was ordered about sundown and made at 
once. All the preparations were in full sight of the men 
in the fort, who were ready to meet it. Colonel Shaw 
saw clearly the great danger of the assault ; that it was 
a desperate chance ; but thus far he had taken the duty 
right to hand, and he took this duty also. The attack 
gallantly made succeeded for a short time ; but the 
resistance was equally gallant and stubborn, and the 
slaughter was great. The 54th, notwithstanding a hard 
fight, was beaten back, and Colonel Shaw, two of his 
officers, and many of his men, were killed, — killed right 
on the ramparts, while many more were wounded. 


ADDRESS BY " Ri § ht in the van 

MAJOR HENRY On the red rampart's slippery swell, 

LEE HIGGINSON With heart that beat a charge, he fell 

Foeward, as fits a man : 

But the high soul burns on to light men's feet 
Where death for noble ends makes dying sweet." 

Thus these white officers and these black men had 
atoned, so far as in them lay, for the sin of slavery ; and 
the negroes had won their places as brave, steady sol- 
diers. Recruits as they were, they had been sorely tried, 
and by their gallantry had made an epoch in the war 
and in the history of the black race. 

One fact you should know. General Thomas Steven- 
son of Massachusetts was in command of the field dur- 
ing the night following the assault, and personally saw to 
it that the wounded black soldiers were brought within 
our lines before the wounded white soldiers, thinking 
the former more likely to suffer at the hands of the en- 
emy than the latter, for the Confederate Government had 
issued orders to hang or enslave any one serving in the 
colored regiments, because such service was regarded as 
inciting servile insurrection. 

The 54th Regiment served throughout the war, distin- 
guished itself by its steady courage in the field and by 
its soldierly bearing in camp and in Charleston, South 
Carolina, after the declaration of peace, and at last came 
home to due honor at the hands of Governor Andrew 
and his staff, standing on the State House steps just 
opposite to the spot where this monument has been 

In the name of our university, I salute the 54th Regi- 
ment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Colored, officers 
and men, and thank them for their bravery and their 
steadfastness in service. 

They have done their duty nobly, and will be immor- 
talized by the beautiful monument which Mr. St. Gau- 


dens has with infinite work and love wrought to their address by 
memory, and which he will unveil to our eyes to-morrow, lee^iggjnson 
Their story is but an episode in the story of the great 
war and in the story of civilization ; and yet how momen- 
tous ! 

Harvard students ! this record of past days is full 
of meaning for you and for us all, to-day and always. 
Our nation was in great trouble and in dire need of men 
who could see the truth — our Harvard motto — and 
uphold it. These men came forth and upheld the truth, 
and the trouble was overcome. 

No doubt the cost in the lives of men and the agony 
of women, and also in the demoralization from war was 
great; but the right prevailed, and the United States of 
America came out of the fiery trial intact, and took its 
place among the great nations of the earth. 

Of course, the troubled times developed these men, 
but the times will always be troubled, and will always 
develop men who are ready for service — be it war or 

War is a dreadful remedy, to be used only when all else 
fails, but when the great need comes, remember our Vir- 
ginian Colonel Robert Williams' order to us, his troop- 
ers, " Gentlemen, during action if you are in doubt, ride 
straight to the front and charge ! " 

Boys, your generation also in turn has its own fresh 
ideals, and its message to the world, which we older men 
welcome ; but we would also help you to see the needs 
of to-day. 

We know that under stress of war you would prove 
yourselves brave and loyal soldiers, but your trial comes 
in the days of peace, and you as citizens are quite as 
much needed at the front as we were in '61. 

Let your enthusiasm and your love for noble thoughts 
and deeds, for noble men and women, have full swing, 


address by and they will show to you clearly your birthright, — the 
lee^iggtnson duty and beauty of serving your country. 

The honor of the nation rests with you, for the hope 
of a nation is in its young men. 

In yonder cloister, on the tablet with his classmates of 
i860 is engraved the name of Robert Gould Shaw. 
He will always be an heroic figure to you, while to us — 
his comrades — he will be all this, and furthermore the 
dear friend, respected and beloved. 

Harvard students ! whenever you hear of Colonel 
Shaw, or of any officer or of any man of the 54th Massa- 
chusetts Regiment, salute him in the name of Harvard 
University and Harvard men. 


MAY 31, 1897 



Francis H. Appleton. 


James T. Soutter. 


Colonel Charles F. Morse. 
Colonel Robert H. Stevenson. 
Colonel James Francis. 
Major Henry L. Higginson. 

(Members of Governor Wolcotfs Staff) 
Colonel Gordon Dexter, 

with 7th Regiment, N. G. S. N. Y., and 1st Cadets, 

M. V. M. 
Colonel Edward B. Robins, 

with Battalion of Survivors. 
Colonel Frank E. Locke, 

with United States Forces. 
Colonel Richard D. Sears, 

with Massachusetts Volunteer Militia. 


J. S. Russell. 
W. Cameron Forbes. 
R. L. Agassiz. 
Copley Amory. 
R. H. Hallowell. 
Theodore Lyman, Jr. 
T. G. Stevenson. 
S. E. Courteney. 
F. H. Kennard. 
Chester C. Rumrill. 
Robert Walcott. 
Alexander H. Higginson 
J. Bertram Read. 


George L. Peabody, Chief. 
R. E. Forbes. 

D. H. Coolidge, Jr. 
R. S. Codman. 
Alexander H. Ladd. 
Frank W. Hallowell. 
T. P. Curtis. 
B. B. Crowninshield. 
Henry A. Curtis. 
George Francis Curtis. 
Thomas E. Sherwin. 
Clement Morgan. 
Edward W. Atkinson. 


Elliot C. Lee, Chief. 
J. Mott Hallowell. Joseph Warren. 

Hugh Williams. John Warren. 

J. Lowell Putnam. Walter Briggs. 


3 1 st MAY, 1897. 

ITH the approval of the Mayor of Boston, 
which city became the recipient of the 
Monument, and with the approval of the 
Governor of this Commonwealth where 
the Monument is to remain, Colonel Henry 
Lee, acting Chairman of the Committee of Subscribers, 
invited me, early in the spring, to act as Chief Marshal, 
and I accepted the invitation. 

Having received the assurances of many persons that 
success in all respects, except from cloudy skies and a 
moist atmosphere, attended all parts of the ceremonies 
of unveiling, I have acknowledged the great help given 
me by others, by issuing a simple circular, which may 
not have reached all whom I wished. If not, I ask the 
indulgence of all such participants. The circular is 
hereafter made a part of this Report. 

The procession on May 31st was ready to start on 
time — at 10 a. m. — and did so. The line of march 
is given in the Chief Marshal's General Order, No 1. 

Although the rain fell lightly at times during the pro- 
gress of the parade, large crowds lined the sidewalks 
and filled the windows of the buildings, and were on the 
public grounds along the line of march. 


£££™ T T OF The movements of the troops were made in pursuance 

GENERAL - ^ . _. , .. r r 

francis h. ot General Orders, No. i. 



General Orders, > 19 Milk Street, 

No. 1. ) Boston, May 24, 1897. 

I. On May 31 the Chief Marshal will establish his headquar- 
ters at the junction of Beacon and Clarendon streets at 9.30 
a. m., and Colonel James T. Soutter will be Adjutant-General 
to the Chief Marshal. 

II. The Honorary Military Staff and Aids of the Chief Mar- 
shal will assemble on Clarendon Street, north of Beacon Street, 
promptly at 9.30 A. m., and report to Mr. Edward W. Atkinson, 
who will form them in sub-divisions of six files each, head of 
column resting on Beacon Street. 

III. Organizations on arriving at the places assigned them by 
special orders will report the fact to Colonel Soutter at head- 

IV. The parade will be formed as follows : — 

Platoon of mounted police. 
2d Corps of Cadets, M. V. M., as escort to Chief Marshal and 


Chief Marshal. 

Chief of Staff. 

Honorary Staff. 


United States Army. 

United States Marines. 

United States Blue Jackets. 

Massachusetts Volunteer Militia. 

7th Regiment National Guard State of New York. 

1 st Corps of Cadets, M. V M. 

Light Battery A, M. V M. 

Battalion of Survivors (54th and 55th Infantry, 

5th Cavalry and Navy). 

Ambulance Corps, M. V. M. 

Governor and party. 

Platoon of mounted police. 


■ V. Each body of troops in the order named will take up the report of 
march as its head is uncovered by the organization which pre- FR ancis H. 
cedes it, preserving the order prescribed in paragraph IV. APPLETON 

VI. Organizations will march in column of companies at full 
distance at all times when the width of the street will permit. 
Guide will be right except on Summer Street. 

VII. The column will move at 10 from the corner of Claren- 
don and Beacon streets over the following route : Clarendon 
Street (width 35 ft.), Commonwealth Avenue, north side (35 ft.), 
Hereford Street (35 ft.), Beacon Street (45 ft.), Beacon Street, 
beyond Park Street (22 ft.), School Street (20 ft.), Washington 
Street (23 ft.), State Street, north side of Old State House (19 
ft.), Congress Street (34 ft), High Street (33 ft.), Summer Street 
(34 ft.), to the corner of Washington Street, where the parade 
will be dismissed. 

VIII. His Excellency Governor Wolcott has consented to 
review the parade at the corner of Commonwealth Avenue and 
Dartmouth Street, north side, place to be designated by a white 
flag. After the review, Governor Wolcott and distinguished 
guests will be escorted to the Monument. 

IX. When the head of the parade is near the Monument at 
Joy Street, the Chief Marshal will direct the " Halt " to be 
sounded, which will be taken up by each organization. Line 
will then be formed to the left on the south sidewalk of Beacon 
Street, east of Charles Street, and will be prolonged westerly. 

X. Governor Wolcott and party will then be escorted by 
Colonel Hallowell's Battalion of Survivors to the Monument, 
passing in front of the troops. Organizations will successively 
salute as His Excellency reaches the left of their line, the bands 
ceasing to play as the next band on their right takes up " Hail 
to the Chief." When Colonel Hallowell's Battalion has passed, 
each organization will immediately form column to the right and 
halt. The Monument having been unveiled, " Forward " will be 
sounded by order of the Chief Marshal, and the parade will be 
continued, passing the Monument, bands playing (see paragraph 
XV.). At the same time the U. S. war ships in the harbor and 
Battery A on the Common will be signaled to fire salutes in 
honor of the occasion. 

XI. The parade will be reviewed by the Chief Marshal on 


report of Summer Street, at the corner of Lincoln Street, place to be 

francis L h. designated by a blue flag on the left. 

appleton XII. Troops will "port arms" for the salute at points desig- 

nated by the white and blue flags. 

XIII. Commanders will not leave the column to go near the 
reviewing officers, but will continue the march with their com- 

XIV. No halting of the column will be made in the vicinity 
of the dismissal. After clearing the corner of Washington and 
Summer streets, should any contraction of space take place, the 
order to close in mass will at once be given. 

XV. Each band will play the " Battle Hymn of the Repub- 
lic," as a march at Joy Street, on Beacon Street, and cease at 
Bowdoin Street. Bands will not turn out at the reviewing 
points, and will observe a cadence of one hundred paces per 

By Order of Francis H. Appleton, 

Chief Marshal. 

James T. Soutter, 

A djutant- General. 

Colonel N. P. Hallowell issued the following circular 
to the survivors of the Massachusetts colored regi- 
ments : — 

[CIRCULAR No. 2.] 

Boston, Mass., May 20, 1897. 


Comrades : — 

The responses to Circular No. I indicate some 225 officers 
and enlisted men who will participate in the ceremonies of the 
dedication of the Memorial to Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, at 
Boston, on Monday, May 31, 1897, including some twenty-five 
Massachusets veterans of the Navy who will march with the 


The main purpose of this Circular is to request Comrades report of 
to report promptly at 9 o'clock, Monday morning, on Arlington fr^ncis H 
Street. There will be some thirty minutes only in which to APPLETON 
form the command and to distribute the tickets for Music Hall. 
Comrades will wear dark clothes, blue preferred, with army hat 
or cap and white gloves. 

At 9.30 o'clock the Battalion must be in readiness to be 
escorted to its place in line. 

After the exercises in Music Hall the line will form on 
Winter Street, and thence march to Faneuil Hall, where a col- 
lation will be served. 

The Battalion formation will be as follows : — 

The Boston Germania Band, 
Commander of the Battalion and his Aids, 
54th Infantry, Colonel George Pope commanding. 
55th Infantry, Colonel William Nutt commanding. 
5th Cavalry, Colonel Henry S. Russell commanding.* 
Navy Veterans, under command of Comrade Joseph H. Smith. 

Lieutenant Stephen S. Swails, 54th, 
Lieutenant William H. Dupree, 55th, 
Lieutenant Charles L. Mitchell, 55th, 
Sergeant J. N. Kellogg, 5th, 
Comrade Isaac S. Mullen, Navy. 
Per order, 

Colonel Commanding Battalion of Survivors. 

Address, Lieutenant William H. Dupree, Sec'y, 
Station A, Boston, Mass. 

Escorted by the military were the following invited 
guests in carriages : — 

Carriage No 1. 
Governor Wolcott. 

* In the absence of Colonel Russell, Captain Henry P. Bowditch com- 
manded the survivors of the 5th Cavalry. 


report OF Colonel Henry Lee, Chairman of the Committee of Subscribers, 

FRANCIS H. anc * member of Governor Andrew's Staff. 

appleton * Adjutant-General Dalton. 

Carriage No. 2 (right). 

Mayor Quincy. 

Lieutenant-Governor Crane. 

Admiral Sicard, U. S. Navy. 

Commander West, Chief of Staff. 

Carriage No. 3 (left). 

Colonel J. L. Carter, Governor's Staff. 

Brigadier-General W. S. Stryker. 

Captain Silas Casey, Commanding "New York." 

Honorable William- P. Lawrence, President of the Senate. 

Carriage No. 4. 

Captain Frederick Rodgers, Commanding "Massachusetts." 
President C. W. Eliot of Harvard University. 

Carriage No. 5. 

Mr. Edward Atkinson, Treasurer of Committee. 

Charles L. Barlow, nephew of Colonel Shaw. 

President Booker T. Washington. 

Hubert Minturn, nephew of Colonel Shaw. 

Carriage No. 6. 

Mr. Augustus St. Gaudens, Sculptor. 

Professor William James, Orator. 

Reverend Edward H. Hall, Chaplain. 

Lieutenant C. C. Marsh, Flag Secretary. 

Carriage No. 7. 

Honorable Martin P. Kennard, Member of the Committee. 

Lieutenant E. H. Harlow, Flag Lieutenant U. S. N. 

Colonel H. N. Hooper. 

[A platoon from the 1st Corps of Cadets, M. V. M. 
marched in front of the Governor's carriage as body-guard.] 


As the head of Colonel Hallowell's Battalion, escorting report of 
Governor Wolcott along the front of the line of troops francis h. 
on Beacon Street to the State House, reached the Monu- APPLETON 
ment, their line was formed on the south sidewalk of 
Beacon Street, and the Governor was saluted by them. 

Upon alighting from the carriages the Governor and 
party took position on the front steps of the State House, 
and found the space between the State House fence and 
the Monument cleared of people. Colonel Henry Lee, 
Chairman, addressed the Governor briefly, and at a sig- 
nal the beautiful Monument was unveiled by two nephews 
of Colonel Shaw, under the superintendence of Mr. Ed- 
ward Atkinson. 

His Excellency, Governor Roger Wolcott, replied 
briefly ; and simultaneously with the unveiling, the three 
U. S. ships lying in the upper harbor, the flagship 
New York, the Massachusetts, and the Texas, com- 
menced, each in turn, firing salutes of twenty-one guns ; 
while Battery "A," M. V. M., Captain J. C. R. Pea- 
body, commenced a salute of seventeen guns on the 
Parade Ground of the Common ; and the march was 
resumed, with the leading band playing the " Battle 
Hymn of the Republic," the tune being " Glory, glory, 

At the moment of unveiling, the Chief Marshal and 
his bugler were at the side of Colonel Lee, on the State 
House sidewalk. As the flags fell from the Monument, 
the bugler was ordered to sound " forward," the signal- 
man on the top of the State House dipped his flag, the 
two signal men on the Ames Building were permitted to 
lower the large flag on that building, and the six opera 
glasses on the war ships caught a glimpse of the falling 
flag, as the clouds kindly parted, which was their signal 
to commence firing. In like manner, but along the mall 


report of of the Common, by its own men, was the Battery notified 

GKNERAL . . . . 

francis h. to begin its salute. 

The procession having moved again, the Chief Mar- 
shal resumed his place in the column. 

The Governor and party under ist Cadet escort, and 
with the attention of the dismounted Aids, soon resumed 
their places in the carriages, and were ready to be es- 
corted to the Winter Street entrance of Music Hall 
through the business portion of the city. 

After reviewing the troops, the Chief Marshal and 
Honorary Military Staff took position in front of Colonel 
Hallowell's Battalion, and, proceeding up Summer to 
Winter Street, there dismounted and entered Music Hall. 

The presence in Boston of the famous 7th Regi- 
ment of New York, with which Colonel Shaw first went 
to the front in 1861, was a marked feature in the parade. 

The entertainment of the 7th Regiment, N. G. S. N. Y., 
by the ist Corps of Cadets, and the proposed trip of both 
these organizations to the Country Club on Monday, 
which rain prevented ; together with the impressive ser- 
vice held in Trinity Church on the previous Sunday 
afternoon by Dr. E. Winchester Donald, exclusively for 
these two organizations, the Chief Marshal and his Adju- 
tant-General being permitted to attend, should be here 

The courtesy extended by the 2d Corps of Cadets was 
a feature of May 31. 

I conclude my Report with the following circular, to 
which I have already referred : — 

headquarters chief marshal. 

Circular. 19 Milk Street, 

Boston, i June, 1897. 

Expressions of high appreciation are hereby extended to 
all who have in any way taken part in securing the success 


which attended the ceremonies incident to the unveiling of the report of 
Memorial to Colonel Robert G. Shaw, made possible by the general 
Subscribers, framed and to be guarded by the City of Boston, appleton 
and made grand by Augustus St. Gaudens. 

Especial appreciation is extended to the detachments from 
the Army, Marine Corps, and Navy ; to the 7th Regiment, 
N. G. S. N. Y. ; to the Massachusetts Volunteer Militia ; and 
to the survivors of the 54th and 55th Infantry, 5th Cavalry and 
Navy, who participated in the parade. 


Chief Marshal. 






Music Patriotic Airs .... Instrumental 

Meeting called to order by the Chief Marshal, and the 

Chairman of the Committee on the Monument 

called to preside. 
Prayer .... Rev. Edward H. Hall, Chaplain of the Day 
Greeting to His Excellency the Governor, Roger Wol- 

cott, and Transfer of the Monument to His 

Honor the Mayor of Boston, by the Chairman 

of the Committee. 
Address of His Excellency, Governor Wolcott, Presiding Officer 
Acceptance by His Honor, Mayor Quincy. 

Chorus «< Our Heroes " 

Oration . . . Prof. William James, of Harvard University 

Chorus " Battle Hymn of the Republic" 

Address . Pres. Booker T. Washington, of Ttiskegee Institute 
Music America* Instrumental 

*A11 joined in singing the air. 


EATED upon the platform were the fol- 
lowing guests : — 

Gen. George L. Andrews. 
Gen. F. H. Appleton. 
Edward Atkinson. 

Col. G. M. Barnard. 
Hon. A. W. Beard. 
Admiral Geo. E. Belknap. 
Maj. George Blagden. 
Maj. Louis Cabot. 
Lieut. C. P. Clark, U. S. N. 
Col. Charles R. Codman. 
Capt Henry N. Conrey. 
Joseph A. Conry, President 

Common Council. 
Lieut. James W. Cooke. 
Lieut.-Gov. Crane. 
Edward Parker Deacon. 
Perlie A. Dyer, Chairman 

Board of Aldermen. 
President Charles W. Eliot. 
Col. J. M. Ellis. 
William Endicott, Jr. 
Col. W. H. Forbes. 

Capt. John A. Fox. 
Col. James Francis. 
Hosea Gray. 
Maj. J. C. Gray. 
Col. Joseph W. Gelray. 
Rev. Edward H. Hall. 
Col. N. P. Hallowell. 
Capt. Francis L. Higginson. 
Col. H. L. Higginson. 
Col. O. W. Holmes. 
Capt. Edward H. Holt. 
Surg. John Homans. 
Col. Henry N. Hooper. 
Col. Charles H. Hopper. 
Col. Charles P. Horton. 
Com. Howison, Navy Yard. 
William Jackson, City En- 
Prof. William James, Orator. 



M. P. Kennard. 

Rt. Rev. William Lawrence. 

Wm. P. Lawrence, Presi- 
dent of Senate. 

Col. Henry Lee. 

John M. Little. 

Col. Thomas L. Livermore. 

Gen. Charles G. Loring. 

Herbert Lyman. 

Lieut. Wm. T. McAlpine. 

Capt. Dennis Meehan. 

Lieut. George W. Moore. 

Col. C. F. Morse. 

Col. T. L. Motley. 

Gen. Robert S. Oliver. 

George L. Osgood, Leader 
of Chorus. 

Gen. John C. Palfrey. 

Theodore K. Parker. 

Gen. Charles L. Peirson. 

Lieut. Richard Pendergast. 

Capt. George Perkins, U. 

Hon. E. L. Pierce. 
Col. George Pope. 
Mayor Josiah Quincy. 
Col. A. A. Rand. 
Gen. John H. Reed. 
Capt. Morris P. Richardson. 
Royal E. Robbins. 
Col. Edward B. Robins. 
John C. Ropes. 
Col. Thomas Sherwin. 
Maj. J. L. Stackpole. 
Gen. Hazard Stevens. 
Col. Robert H. Stevenson. 
Augustus St. Gaudens. 
Capt. Howard Stockton. 
Col. Lincoln R. Stone. 
Wilson B. Strong. 
Brig.-Gen. Stryker. 
J. L. Thorndike. 
Hon. Winslow Warren. 
Gen. Stephen M. Weld. 
Governor Roger Wolcott. 
Booker T. Washington. 



HORTLY after 12.20 p. m., when the Germania Band 
had concluded several patriotic airs, the Chief Mar- 
shal, Francis H. Appleton, called to order those 
assembled, who more than filled the hall, and said : — 
" I deem it a high honor to be permitted to call to order this 
vast and distinguished audience, myself a soldier of modern 
times in the presence of these veterans of war. I esteem it 
a further honor, and pleasure, to present to you as temporary 
Chairman, Colonel Henry Lee, Chairman of the Committee of 
Subscribers, and a member of our war Governor John A. An- 
drew's staff. 



OU are too partial in calling me chairman 
of the committee. I wish the chairman, 
John M. Forbes, were here, — a man iden- 
tified with Governor Andrew from the cold, 
chilly morning of preparation to the last 
review of the army in Washington. I say deliberately 
that there was no citizen of the Commonwealth who ren- 
dered more varied, more continuous, more valuable ser- 
vice during the war than John M. Forbes. To the 
State " his purse, his person, his extremest means lay all 
unlocked to her occasions." Unfortunately, old age has 
arrested him and prevented him from taking his place 
as chairman this morning. 

Friends, more than twenty years ago the subscribers 
appointed a committee with full powers to procure a fit- 
ting testimonial to Col. Robert G. Shaw and his brave 
black soldiers. That committee has completed its task. 
It has invited the subscribers, the family and friends of 
the hero, with the remnant of his followers, some of his 
old comrades in arms, and all others interested, to listen 
to its final report, to look upon the memorial they have 
procured, to discharge the committee from further labors, 
and, if so minded, to crown them with approbation. 


Report °f We ask your Excellency to preside on this occasion as 

henry lee the chief magistrate of the Commonwealth, and especially 
as the successor to our great war governor — the gov- 
ernor who was the first to prepare for war, the first to 
prepare for peace, the first to urge the policy of emanci- 
pation as a war measure, the first to insist upon the right 
and duty of the colored men to bear arms, feeling that 
not only the liberties of the colored men, but that the 
destinies of the country itself were involved in this ques- 

When, after two years' delay, the official sanction was 
granted, he hastened to organize regiments, to watch 
over them and contend for their rights, — promised and 

" The monument," said Governor Andrew in his call for 
subscriptions, " is intended not only to mark the public 
gratitude to the fallen hero, who at a critical moment as- 
sumed a perilous responsibility, but also to commemorate 
that great event wherein he was a leader, by which the 
title of colored men as citizen soldiers was fixed beyond 

Time is wanting to detail the labors, anxieties, and dis- 
appointments, the weary delays encountered, the anti- 
pathy and incredulity of the army and the public at the 
employment of colored men as soldiers ; the outrageous 
injustice of the Government to the colored soldiers even 
after the bloody assault on Fort Wagner, and the final 
triumph of the governor, only after a long legal strug- 
gle, and after he and his colored soldiers had passed 
through great anxiety and misery. 

" I was opposed on nearly every side when I first fa- 
vored the raising of colored regiments," said President 
Lincoln to General Grant, and no one can appreciate the 
heroism of Colonel Shaw and his officers and soldiers 
without adding to the savage threats of the enemy, the 


disapprobation of friends, the antipathy of the army, the £g£g^jp F 
sneers of the multitude here, without reckoning the fire henry lee 
in the rear as well as the fire in front. One must have 
the highest form of courage not to shrink from such dis- 
maying solitude. 

As to the fallen hero who " had put on the crown 
of martyrdom," the governor had selected him, after 
deliberation, from a family consecrated to patriotism ; had 
admired his heroism and was heartsick at his loss. 

To express the universal grief at that loss and the ap- 
preciation of the great event in which he was a leader, 
this monument has been erected. 

The State, through Governor Long, generously offered 
to the committee an admirable site for the monument, 
but upon examination this was declined lest the State 
House grounds should be disfigured. In this emergency 
the city came to our rescue, and not only furnished the 
ground, but made a liberal contribution of the terrace 
and framework of the monument. We therefore must 
turn to you, Mr. Mayor, and transfer to your Honor this 
precious memorial. 

A generation has passed since this great work was 
contemplated. It is over twenty years since it was en- 
trusted to the committee which I represent, and twelve 
years since it was confided to the sculptor, Mr. St. 
Gaudens. Two years was the time allotted for its com- 
pletion. These two years have lengthened into twelve, a 
period of great anxiety for the committee lest they should 
not survive to accomplish their task, or, what was more 
important, lest the sculptor should be taken away, with 
his work unfinished. Those twelve years have been im- 
proved by the artist, whose inexorable conscience com- 
pelled him to prolong his labors at all hazards until his 
ideal should be realized. 


report of Your Honor has witnessed the unveiling of the monu- 

henry lee ment, and will, I am sure, congratulate us that, thanks to 
the sculptor, we have builded better than we knew. 

No sweeter praise could be craved by any artist than 
the eulogy pronounced upon his work by the mother of 
the hero. 

" You have immortalized my native city, you have im- 
mortalized my dear son, you have immortalized your- 





R. CHAIRMAN, Members of the Commit- 
tee, Fellow-Citizens: I esteem it a signal 
honor and privilege to be called upon to 
bear part in these impressive services. We 
are met to commemorate not only a gallant, 
noble death, — not alone the gallant deaths of those who 
fell side by side with Col. Robert G. Shaw, — but we are 
here to commemorate an epoch in the history of a race. 

On the blood-stained earthworks of Fort Wagner a 
race was called into sudden manhood. Even those 
whose hearts had yearned with the strongest sympathy 
and pity to the colored race had, up to that time, re- 
garded as their leading characteristics a meek resigna- 
tion, a patient submission to wrong. On that day the 
world learned to know that whatever the color of the 
skin, the blood that flowed in the veins of the colored 
man was red with the lusty hue of manhood and of 
heroism. When Abraham Lincoln, for the second time, 
took upon himself the great responsibility of the presi- 
dency, he spoke, in language that still thrills with a 
deep pathos and with lofty faith, the following words : 
" If God wills that this mighty scourge of war continue 
until all the wealth piled by the bondmen's two hun- 



dred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and 
until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be 
paid by a drop of blood drawn with the sword, as was 
said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said, 
" The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous 

The great price was paid, — the price of heaped-up 
treasure, the price of blood drawn from the veins of the 
generous and gallant youth of the land. But no heart 
to-day, howsoever deeply wounded, can grudge that price. 
Willingly and gladly it was given, and it is not with 
sorrow, but with joy, that we commemorate the sacrifice. 

And so it is with joyful and thankful hearts that we 
remember the great deed which is to-day commemorated. 
Sleep well, noble and heroic dead ! Live long, equally 
noble and heroic survivors. Like those who fell, you 
held out your lives a sacrifice to country, and a grateful 
nation treasures your act as a part of her undying fame. 

The beautiful monument which we have witnessed 
unveiled, in which the sculptor, with the hand of genius 
seems to have caught, as if by inspiration, and to have 
fixed in permanent bronze, the very spirit of that sacri- 
fice — that monument becomes to-day the property of 
the city of Boston. I have the honor of presenting to 
you His Honor Mayor Quincy. 






OUR Excellency, Ladies and Gentlemen : 
On this national aniversary, dedicated to 
the memory of those who died that their 
country might live, and that its free soil 
might no longer be trodden by the foot of 
any slave, we have our own especial commemoration of 
one of the most notable events in the history of Boston. 
Thirty-four years ago, almost to the very day, our city 
witnessed the culmination of the anti-slavery agitation of 
which for a quarter of a century she had been the centre. 
Tongue and pen had here done their full work for hu- 
man freedom ; by other weapons and on other ground 
was the final issue to be determined. The time had 
come when the worthiness of men with black skins to 
bear arms and to be received into the fellowship of 
military service was to be put to the trial ; when their 
courage and endurance were to be subjected to the 
supreme test of the battlefield. And the Commonwealth 
of Massachusetts — to her eternal honor — dared to en- 
trust her white flag to their keeping, and to place one of 
her chivalry at their head. A negro regiment, the first 
raised by any Northern State, marched through our 
streets, bound for the front, with Robert G. Shaw in 


address of command. The outward and visible sign of the enfran- 
josiah quincy chisement of a race was here given when the fugitive 
slave, transformed into a soldier by authority of a liberty- 
loving State, went forth to bear his part in maintaining 
the union of the nation and winning the freedom of his 

Two months later the answer to the question whether 
the negro could fight and die for his country, like the 
white man, came back, written in letters of blood, from 
the ramparts of Fort Wagner; and a mighty army of 
colored troops, no inconsiderable factor in the attainment 
of the victory of the North, followed where Colonel Shaw 
and the 54th Massachusetts had led the way. 

A common trench in the soil of South Carolina, upon 
the battle ground which has been well called the 
Bunker Hill of the colored race, was the fitting sepul- 
chre of white and black, of officer and private. To-day 
we raise their monument, not over this far-off and 
unmarked grave, but here upon the corner of Boston 
Common, where began the march that ended for them 
at Wagner. Facing the Capitol of the State in whose 
service they were mustered in, on the spot where 
Governor Andrew reviewed them and sent them forth 
with the godspeed of the Commonwealth, we place this 
memorial, — not as a mere likeness of the face and form 
of Shaw, but as a monument to the soul of the regiment 
which he led, as an expression of the great idea, of the 
high purpose which called it into being. 

Once more it marches to-day with full ranks, its sur- 
vivors again passing through the streets which first knew 
their martial tread a third of a century ago, the dead, 
recalled to life by the genius of the sculptor, again 
marching by the side of their heroic young commander. 

" The rest," says the dying Hamlet, " is silence." Yet 
from that silence beyond the grave — silence to us only 


because our ears are not yet attuned to its harmonies — address of 

, * . . , . Ilia rlUJNUK, 

there come some living voices, repeating their message josiah quincy 

to generation after generation. Such, I think, will be 

the voice of Shaw, speaking through those closed lips of 

bronze. It is not often those whom the world esteems 

the most successful, or the greatest, who leave the most 

valuable examples and lessons to posterity. It is rather 

the man whose life or death touches some deep chord of 

universal sympathy, or appeals to the imagination or the 

sentiment of all mankind. When far greater soldiers 

are forgotten, our descendants will still cherish the 

memory of the gallant youth who fell " with his hurts 

before," leading a hopeless charge, blazing the path of 

freedom for a race in bondage. 

Col. Henry Lee : On behalf of the city of Boston, I 
now gratefully accept the gift, precious alike as a memo- 
rial of the heroic dead and as a noble work of art, which 
you, on behalf of the committee which has so long had 
its execution in charge, have just placed in her keeping. 
May it stand in its place, telling its great and simple 
story, while this city shall stand. I extend to you, sir, 
who stood by the side of Governor Andrew, in whose 
great heart this regiment had its birth, at whose call 
Shaw assumed its command, my felicitations at having 
lived to see the dedication of this monument, which is in 
no small measure a memorial to the war governor whom 
you assisted in his great task. 

I should fall short of my duty on this occasion if I 
failed also to express the thanks of the city to the sculp- 
tor, Augustus St. Gaudens, who has made the execution 
of this great work his chief concern through so many 
years, largely as a labor of love, and to congratulate him 
upon its more than successful completion. May the 
lesson which it teaches sink more deeply into the hearts 


address of of our people as years go by. If they ever doubt as to 
josiah qui'ncy the future of American political institutions, if they ever 
despair of the republic, may they here gather new inspi- 
ration and courage; may they here more fully realize 
that the country of freemen which was worth dying for 
a generation ago is worth living for now and hereafter. 
And let us here catch the forward step of the 54th Mas- 
sachusetts, and serve, in whatever manner the peaceful 
opportunities of our time may permit, under the same 
glorious colors which it bore. 



^VERNOR WOLCOTT: In that splendid charge 
at Fort Wagner, side by side with those to whom 
was given the happy destiny of an heroic death, 
were others, white and black, who like them gladly 
held out their lives a willing offering to Fate. Among these, 
wounded but not dead, fell Adjutant James. It is fitting that 
the committee should have selected his brother, Professor 
William James of Harvard University, to tell the story that is 
commemorated in this monument. 



OUR Excellency, your Honor, Soldiers and 
Friends : In these unveiling exercises the 
duty falls to me of expressing in simple 
words some of the feelings which have 
actuated the givers of St. Gaudens' noble 
work of bronze, and of briefly recalling the history of 
Robert Shaw and of his regiment to the memory of this 
possibly too forgetful generation. 

The men who do brave deeds are usually unconscious 
of their picturesqueness. For two nights previous to 
the assault upon Fort Wagner, the 54th Massachusetts 
Regiment had been afoot, making forced marches in the 
rain ; and on the day of the battle the men had had no 
food since early morning. As they lay there in the evening 
twilight, hungry and wet, against the cold sands of Morris 
Island, with the sea-fog drifting over them, their eyes 
fixed on the huge bulk of the fortress looming darkly 
three quarters of a mile ahead against the sky, and their 
hearts beating in expectation of the word that was to 
bring them to their feet and launch them on their des- 
perate charge, neither officers nor men could have been 
in any holiday mood of contemplation. Many and dif- 
ferent must have been the thoughts that came and went 
in them during that hour of bodeful reverie ; but however 
free the flights of fancy of some of them may have been, 


professor* it: is im P robable that an Y one who lay there had so wild 
william james and whirling an imagination as to foresee in prophetic 
vision this morning of a future May, when we, the peo- 
ple of a richer and more splendid Boston, with mayor 
and governor, and troops from other States, and every 
circumstance of ceremony, should meet together to 
celebrate their conduct on that evening, and do their 
memory this conspicuous honor. 

How, indeed, comes it that out of all the great engage- 
ments of the war, engagements in many of which the 
troops of Massachusetts had borne the most distinguished 
part, this officer, only a young colonel, this regiment of 
black men and its maiden battle, — a battle, moreover, 
which was lost, — should be picked out for such unusual 
commemoration ? 

The historic importance of an event is measured 
neither by its material magnitude, nor by its immediate 
success. Thermopylae was a defeat ; but to the Greek 
imagination, Leonidas and his few Spartans stood for the 
whole worth of Grecian life. Bunker Hill was a defeat ; 
but for our people, the fight over that breastwork has 
always seemed to show as well as any victory that our 
forefathers were men of a temper not to be finally over- 
come. And so here. The war for our Union, with all 
the constitutional questions which it settled, and all the 
military lessons which it gathered in, has throughout its 
dilatory length but one meaning in the eye of history. 
It freed the country from the social plague which until 
then had made political development impossible in the 
United States. More and more, as the years pass, does 
that meaning stand forth as the sole meaning. And no- 
where was that meaning better symbolized and embodied 
than in the constitution of this first Northern negro 

Look at that monument and read the story — see the 


mingling of elements which the sculptor's genius has oration by 

o o i o PROFESSOR 

brought so vividly before the eye. There on foot go the william james 
dark outcasts, so true to nature that one can almost hear 
them breathing as they march. State after State by its 
laws had denied them to be human persons. The South- 
ern leaders in congressional debates, insolent in their 
security of legalized possession, loved most to designate 
them by the contemptuous collective epithet of " this 
peculiar kind of property." There they march, warm- 
blooded champions of a better day for man. There on 
horseback, among them, in his very habit as he lived, 
sits the blue-eyed child of fortune, upon whose happy 
youth every divinity had smiled. Onward they move 
together, a single resolution kindled in their eyes, and 
animating their otherwise so different frames. The 
bronze that makes their memory eternal betrays the very 
soul and secret of those awful years. 

Since the 'thirties the slavery question had been the 
only question, and by the end of the 'fifties our land lay 
sick and shaking with it like a traveler who has thrown 
himself down at night beside a pestilential swamp, and 
in the morning finds the fever through the marrow of 
his bones. " Only muzzle the Abolition fanatics," said the 
South, " and all will be well again ! " But the Abolition- 
ists could not be muzzled, — they were the voice of the 
world's conscience, they were a part of destiny. Weak 
as they were, they drove the South to madness. " Every 
step she takes in her blindness," said Wendell Phillips, 
" is one more step towards ruin." And when South Caro- 
lina took the final step in battering down Fort Sumter, 
it was the fanatics of slavery themselves who called upon 
their idolized institution ruin swift and complete. What 
law and reason were unable to accomplish, had now to 
be done by that uncertain and dreadful dispenser of 
God's judgments, War — War, with its abominably casual, 


professor Y inaccurate methods, destroying good and bad together, 
william james but at last unquestionably able to hew a way out of in- 
tolerable situations, when through man's delusion or per- 
versity every better way is blocked. 

Our great western republic had from its very origin 
been a singular anomaly. A land of freedom, boastfully 
so-called, with human slavery enthroned at the heart of 
it, and at last dictating terms of unconditional surrender 
to every other organ of its life, what was it but a thing 
of falsehood and horrible self-contradiction ? For three 
quarters of a century it had nevertheless endured, kept 
together by policy, compromise, and concession. But at 
last that republic was torn in two ; and truth was to be 
possible under the flag. Truth, thank God, truth ! even 
though for the moment it must be truth written in hell- 

And this, fellow-citizens, is why, after the great gen- 
erals have had their monuments, and long after the 
abstract soldier's-monuments have been reared on every 
village green, we have chosen to take Robert Shaw and 
his regiment as the subjects of the first soldier's-monu- 
ment to be raised to a particular set of comparatively 
undistinguished men. The very lack of external compli- 
cation in the history of these soldiers is what makes 
them represent with such typical purity the profounder 
meaning of the Union cause. 

Our nation had been founded in what we may call our 
American religion, baptized and reared in the faith that 
a man requires no master to take care of him, and that 
common people can work out their salvation well enough 
together if left free to try. But the founders of the Union 
had not dared to touch the great intractable exception ; 
and slavery had wrought and spread, until at last the 
only alternative for the nation was to fight or die. What 
Shaw and his comrades stand for and show us is that in 


such an emergency Americans of all complexions and oration by 
conditions can go forth like brothers, and meet death william james 
cheerfully if need be, in order that this religion of our 
native land shall not become a failure on the earth. 

We of this Commonwealth believe in that religion; 
and it is not at all because Robert Shaw was an excep- 
tional genius, but simply because he was faithful to it 
as we all may hope to be faithful in our measure when 
occasion serves, that we wish his beautiful image to stand 
here for all time, an inciter to similarly unselfish public 

Shaw thought but little of himself, yet he had a per- 
sonal charm which, as we look back on him, makes us 
say with the poet : " None knew thee but to love thee, 
none named thee but to praise." This grace of nature 
was united in him in the happiest way with a filial heart, 
a cheerful ready will, and a judgment that was true and 
fair. And when the war came, and great things were 
doing of the kind that he could help in, he went as a 
matter of course to the front. What country under 
heaven has not thousands of such youths to rejoice in, 
youths on whom the safety of the human race depends? 
Whether or not they leave memorials behind them, 
whether their names are writ in water or in marble, de- 
pends mostly on the opportunities which the accidents 
of history throw into their path. Shaw recognized 
the vital opportunity: he saw that the time had come 
when the colored people must put the country in their 

Colonel Lee has just told us something about the ob- 
stacles with which this idea had to contend. For a large 
party of us this was still exclusively a white man's war ; 
and should colored troops be tried and not succeed, 
confusion would grow worse confounded. Shaw was a 
captain in the Massachusetts Second, when Governor 


oration by Andrew invited him to take the lead in the experiment. 

william james He was very modest, and doubted, for a moment, his own 
capacity for so responsible a post. We may also imagine 
human motives whispering other doubts. Shaw loved 
the Second Regiment, illustrious already, and was sure of 
promotion where he stood. In this new negro-soldier 
venture, loneliness was certain, ridicule inevitable, failure 
possible ; and Shaw was only twenty-five ; and, although 
he had stood among the bullets at Cedar Mountain and 
Antietam, he had till then been walking socially on the 
sunny side of life. But whatever doubts may have beset 
him, they were over in a day, for he inclined naturally 
towards difficult resolves. He accepted the proffered 
command, and from that moment lived but for one ob- 
ject, to establish the honor of the Massachusetts 54th. 

I have had the privilege of reading his letters to his 
family from the day of April when, as a private in the 
New York Seventh, he obeyed the President's first call. 
Some day they must be published, for they form a veri- 
table poem for serenity and simplicity of tone. He took 
to camp life as if it were his native element, and (like so 
many of our young soldiers) he was at first all eagerness 
to make arms his permanent profession. Drilling and 
disciplining; interminable marching and countermarch- 
ing and picket-duty on the upper Potomac as lieutenant 
in the Second Massachusetts Infantry, to which post he 
had soon been promoted ; pride at the discipline attained 
by the Second, and horror at the bad discipline of other 
regiments ; these are the staple matter of the earlier let- 
ters, and last for many months. These, and occasional 
more recreative incidents, visits to Virginian houses, the 
reading of books like Napier's " Peninsular War " or the 
" Idylls of the King," Thanksgiving feasts and races 
among officers, that helped the weary weeks to glide away. 
Then the bloodier business opens, and the plot thickens 


till the end is reached. From first to last there is not a oration by 

rancorous word against the enemy, — often quite the william james 

reverse, — and amid all the scenes of hardship, death, 

and devastation that his pen soon has to write of, there 

is unfailing cheerfulness and even a sort of innermost 


After he left it, Robert Shaw's heart still clung to the 
fortunes of the Second. Months later, when in South 
Carolina with the 54th, he writes to his young wife: 
" I should have been major of the Second now if I had 
remained there and lived through the battles. As regards 
my own pleasure, I had rather have that place than any 
other in the army. It would have been fine to go home 
a field officer in that regiment ! Poor fellows, how they 
have been slaughtered ! " 

Meanwhile he had well taught his new command how 
to do their duty ; for only three days after he wrote this 
he led them up the parapet of Fort Wagner, where he 
and nearly half of them were left upon the ground. 

Robert Shaw quickly inspired others with his own love 
of discipline. There was something almost pathetic in 
the earnestness with which both the officers and men 
of the 54th embraced their mission of showing that a 
black regiment could excel in every virtue known to 
man. They had good success, and the 54th became 
a model in all possible respects. Almost the only trace 
of bitterness in Shaw's whole correspondence is over 
an incident in which he thought his men had been 
morally disgraced. It had become their duty, immedi- 
ately after their arrival at the seat of war, to participate, 
in obedience to fanatical orders from the head of the 
department, in the sack and burning of the inoffensive 
little town of Darien on the Georgia coast. " I fear," he 
writes to his wife, " that such actions will hurt the repu- 
tation of black troops and of those connected with them. 


oration by For myself I have gone through the war so far without 
william james dishonor, and I do not like to degenerate into a plun- 
derer and a robber, — and the same applies to every 
officer in my regiment. After going through the hard 
campaigning and the hard fighting in Virginia, this 
makes me very much ashamed. There are two courses 
only for me to pursue : to obey orders and say nothing ; 
or to refuse to go upon any more such expeditions, and 
be put under arrest and probably court-martialed, which 
is a very serious thing." Fortunately for Shaw, the 
general in command of that department was almost im- 
mediately relieved. 

Four weeks of camp life and discipline on the Sea Is- 
lands, and the regiment had its baptism of fire. A small 
affair, but it proved the men to be stanch. Shaw again 
writes to his wife : " You don't know what a fortunate 
day this has been for me and for us all, excepting some 
poor fellows who were killed and wounded. We have 
fought at last alongside of white troops. Two hundred 
of my men on picket this morning were attacked by five 
regiments of infantry, some cavalry, and a battery of 
artillery. The ioth Connecticut were on their left, and 
say they would have had a bad time if the 54th men had 
not stood so well. The whole division was under arms 
in fifteen minutes, and after coming up close in front 
of us, the enemy, finding us so strong, fell back. . . . 
General Terry sent me word he was highly gratified 
with the behavior of our men, and the officers and pri- 
vates of other regiments praise us very much. All this 
is very gratifying to us personally, and a fine thing for 
the colored troops. I know this will give you pleasure, 
for it wipes out the remembrance of the Darien affair, 
which you could not but grieve over, though we were 
innocent participators." 

The adjutant of the 54th, who made report of this 


skirmish to General Terry, well expresses the feelings of oration by 

, • i -i • i l PROFKSSOR 

loneliness that still prevailed in that command : — william james 

" The general's favorite regiment," writes the adju- 
tant, 1 " the 24th Massachusetts Infantry, one of the best 
that had so far faced the rebel foe, largely officered by 
Boston men, was surrounding his headquarters. It had 
been a living breathing suspicion with us — perhaps not 
altogether justly — that all white troops abhorred our 
presence in the army, and that the 24th would rather 
hear of us in some remote corner of the Confederacy 
than tolerate us in the advance of any battle in which 
they themselves were to act as reserves or lookers-on. 
Can you not then readily imagine the pleasure which I 
felt as I alighted from my horse, before General Terry 
and his staff — I was going to say his unfriendly staff, 
but of this I am not sure — to report to him, with 
Colonel Shaw's compliments, that we had repulsed the 
enemy without the loss of a single inch of ground. 
General Terry bade me mount again and tell Colonel 
Shaw that he was proud of the conduct of his men, and 
that he must still hold the ground against any future 
sortie of the enemy. You can even now share with me 
the sensation of that moment of soldierly satisfaction." 

The next night but one after this episode was spent 
by the 54th in disembarking on Morris Island in the 
rain, and at noon Colonel Shaw was able to report their 
arrival to General Strong, to whose brigade he was as- 
signed. A terrific bombardment was playing on Fort 
Wagner, 'then the most formidable earthwork ever built, 
and the general, knowing Shaw's desire to place his men- 
beside white troops, said to him : " Colonel, Fort Wag- 
ner is to be stormed this evening, and you may lead the 

1 G. W. James : " The Assault upon Fort Wagner," in War Papers read 
before the Commandery of the State of Wisconsin, Military Order of the 
Loyal Legion of the U. S. Milwaukee, 1891. 

professor Y commn > if you say yes. Your men, I know, are worn 
william james out, but do as you choose." Shaw's face brightened. 
" Before answering the general, he instantly turned to 
me," writes the adjutant, who reports the interview, " and 
said, ' Tell Colonel Hallowell to bring up the 54th im- 
mediately.' " 

This was done, and just before nightfall the attack 
was made. Shaw was serious, for he knew the assault 
was desperate, and had a premonition of his end. Walk- 
ing up and down in front of the regiment, he briefly 
exhorted them to prove that they were men. Then he 
gave the order : " Move in quick time till within a hun- 
dred yards, then double quick and charge. Forward ! " 
and the 54th advanced to the storming, its colonel and 
the colors at its head. 

On over the sand, through a narrow defile which 
broke up the formation, double quick over the chevaux 
de frise, into the ditch and over it, as best they could, 
and up the rampart ; with Fort Sumter, which had seen 
them, playing on them, and Fort Wagner, now one 
mighty mound of fire, tearing out their lives. Shaw led 
from first to last. Gaining successfully the parapet, he 
stood there for a moment with uplifted sword, shouting 
" Forward, 54th ! " and then fell headlong, with a bullet 
through his heart. The battle raged for nigh two hours. 
Regiment after regiment, following upon the 54th, 
hurled themselves upon its ramparts, but Fort Wagner 
was nobly defended, and for that night stood safe. The 
54th withdrew after two thirds of its officers and five 
twelfths or nearly half its men had been shot down or 
bayoneted within the fortress or before its walls. It was 
good behavior for a regiment no one of whose soldiers 
had had a musket in his hands more than 18 weeks, 
and which had seen the enemy for the first time only 
two days before. 


" The negroes fought gallantly," wrote a Confederate oration by 
officer, " and were headed by as brave a colonel as ever william james 

As for the colonel, not a drum was heard nor a funeral 
note, not a soldier discharged his farewell shot, when the 
Confederates buried him, the morning after the engage- 
ment. His body, half stripped of its clothing, and the 
corpses of his dauntless negroes were flung into one 
common trench together, and the sand was shoveled 
over them, without a stake or stone to signalize the 
spot. In death as in life, then, the 54th bore witness to 
the brotherhood of Man. The lover of heroic history 
could wish for no more fitting sepulchre for Shaw's mag- 
nanimous young heart. There let his body rest, united 
with the forms of his brave nameless comrades. There 
let the breezes of the Atlantic sigh, and its gales roar 
their requiem, while this bronze effigy and these inscrip- 
tions keep their fame alive long after you and I and all 
who meet here are forgotten. 

How soon, indeed, are human things forgotten ! As 
we meet here this morning, the Southern sun is shining 
on their place of burial, and the waves sparkling and the 
sea-gulls circling around Fort Wagner's ancient site. 
But the great earthworks and their thundering cannon, 
the commanders and their followers, the wild assault and 
repulse that for a brief space made night hideous on that 
far-off evening, have all sunk into the blue gulf of the 
past, and for the majority of this generation are hardly 
more than an abstract name, a picture, a tale that is told. 
Only when some yellow-bleached photograph of a soldier 
of the 'sixties comes into our hands, with that odd and 
vivid look of individuality due to the moment when it 
was taken, do we realize the concreteness of that by- 
gone history, and feel how interminable to the actors in 
them were those leaden-footed hours and years. The 


2£™c£US Y photographs themselves erelong will fade utterly, and 

rKUrbooUK i l r i • i i»i 

william james books ot history and monuments like this alone will 
tell the tale. The great war for the Union will be like 
the siege of Troy, it will have taken its place amongst 
all other " old, unhappy, far-off things and battles long 

Ah, my friends, and may the like of it never be re- 
quired of us again ! 

It is hard to end a discourse like this without one word 
of moralizing ; and two things must be distinguished in 
all events like those we are commemorating, — the moral 
service of them on the one hand, and on the other the 
physical fortitude which they display. War has been 
much praised and celebrated among us of late as a school 
of manly virtue ; but it is easy to exaggerate upon this 
point. Ages ago, war was the gory cradle of mankind, 
the grim-featured nurse that alone could train our savage 
progenitors into some semblance of social virtue, teach 
them to be faithful one to another, and force them to 
sink their selfishness in wider tribal ends. War still ex- 
cels in this prerogative ; and whether it be paid in years 
of service, in treasure, or in life-blood, the war tax is still 
the only tax that men ungrudgingly will pay. How 
could it be otherwise, when the survivors of one success- 
ful massacre after another are the beings from whose 
loins we and all our contemporary races spring ? Man 
is once for all a fighting animal ; centuries of peaceful 
history could not breed the battle-instinct out of us ; and 
military virtue is the kind of virtue least in need of rein- 
forcement by reflection, least in need of orator's or poet's 

What we really need the poet's and orator's help to 
keep alive in us is not, then, the common and gregarious 
courage which Robert Shaw showed when he marched 
with you, men of the Seventh Regiment. It is that more 

8 4 

lonely courage which he showed when he dropped his oration by 

* •ii* r~* iii PROFESSOR 

warm commission in the glorious becond to head your william james 
dubious fortunes, negroes of the 54th. That lonely kind 
of valor (civic courage as we call it in peace times) is the 
kind of valor to which the monuments of nations should 
most of all be reared, for the survival of the fittest has 
not bred it into the bone of human beings as it has bred 
military valor ; and of five hundred of us who could storm 
a battery side by side with others, perhaps not one would 
be found ready to risk his worldly fortunes all alone in 
resisting an enthroned abuse. The deadliest enemies of 
nations are not their foreign foes; they always dwell 
within their borders. And from these internal enemies 
civilization is always in need of being saved. The nation 
blest above all nations is she in whom the civic genius of 
the people does the saving day by day, by acts without 
external picturesqueness ; by speaking, writing, voting 
reasonably ; by smiting corruption swiftly ; by good tem- 
per between parties ; by the people knowing true men 
when they see them, and preferring them as leaders to 
rabid partisans or empty quacks. Such nations have no 
need of wars to save them. Their accounts with right- 
eousness are always even ; and God's judgments do not 
have to overtake them fitfully in bloody spasms and con- 
vulsions of the race. 

The lesson that our war ought most of all to teach us 
is the lesson that evils must be checked in time, before 
they grow so great. The Almighty cannot love such 
long-postponed accounts, or such tremendous settlements. 
And surely He hates all settlements that do such quan- 
tities of incidental devils' work. Our present situation, 
with its rancors and delusions, what is it but the direct 
outcome of the added powers of government, the corrup- 
tions and inflations of the war ? Every war leaves such 
miserable legacies, fatal seeds of future war and revolu- 


2£AJ12?™ Y tion > unless the civic virtues of the people save the State 

William james in time. 

Shaw had both kinds of virtue. As he then led his 
regiment against Fort Wagner, so surely would he now 
be leading us against all lesser powers of darkness, had 
his sweet young life been spared. You think of many as 
I speak of one. For, North and South, how many lives 
as sweet, unmonumented for the most part, commemo- 
rated solely in the hearts of mourning mothers, widowed 
brides, or friends, did the inexorable war mow down! 
Instead of the full years of natural service from so many 
of her children, our country counts but their poor memo- 
ries, " the tender grace of a day that is dead," lingering 
like echoes of past music on the vacant air. 

But so and so only was it written that she should grow 
sound again. From that fatal earlier unsoundness those 
lives have bought for North and South together perma- 
nent release. The warfare is accomplished ; the iniquity 
is pardoned. No future problem can be like that pro- 
blem. No task laid on our children can compare in dif- 
ficulty with the task with which their fathers have to 
deal. Yet as we face the future, tasks enough await us. 
The republic to which Robert Shaw and a quarter of a 
million like him were faithful unto death is no republic 
that can live at ease hereafter on the interest of what 
they won. Democracy is still upon its trial. The civic 
genius of our people is its only bulwark, and neither laws 
nor monuments, neither battleships nor public libraries, 
nor great newspapers nor booming stocks ; neither me- 
chanical invention nor political adroitness, nor churches 
nor universities nor civil-service examinations can save 
us from degeneration if the inner mystery be lost. That 
mystery, at once the secret and the glory of our English- 
speaking race, consists in nothing but two common hab- 
its, two inveterate habits carried into public life, — habits 


so homely that they lend themselves to no rhetorical ex- oration by 

, , . • , i 1 PROFESSOR 

pression, yet habits more precious, perhaps, than any that william james 

the human race has gained. They can never be too often 

pointed out or praised. One of them is the habit of 

trained and disciplined good temper towards the opposite 

party when it fairly wins its innings ; and the other, that 

of fierce and merciless resentment towards every man or 

set of men who overstep the lawful bounds of fairness or 

break the public peace. 

O my countrymen, Southern and Northern, brothers 
hereafter, masters, slaves, and enemies no more, let us 
see to it that both of those heirlooms are preserved. So 
may our ransomed country, like the city of the promise, 
lie forever foursquare under Heaven, and the ways of all 
the nations be lit up by its light. 



^OVERNOR WOLCOTT: "One year ago, at the 
Commencement exercises of the oldest and most 
famous University of the western hemisphere, there 
was enacted a memorable scene. In the presence of 
hundreds of the Alumni of Harvard College, in the beautiful 
hall dedicated to those of her sons who gave their lives to their 
country's need, a colored man, born a slave, rose to receive an 
honorary degree at the hands of the President of the University. 
It was not the first time that a degree had been conferred upon 
one of his race. But in previous cases this distinction had been 
won by compliance with the requisite term of residence and by 
successfully passing certain academic examinations. In this 
case the honor was conferred because of wise leadership of his 
race, and of sagacious counsel to his countrymen, both white 
and black. As he ceased a speech that burned with restrained 
passion, and yet threw the calm, clear light of a tempered judg- 
ment upon the relations of the two races, that great audience was 
swept by wave after wave of enthusiastic applause. No man 
can more eloquently and wisely speak for the race which furnished 
the rank and file of the 54th Regiment than Booker T. Washing- 
ton, of Tuskegee, Alabama." 


>R. CHAIRMAN, and Fellow-Citizens: In 
this presence, and on this sacred and mem- 
orable day, in the deeds and death of our 
hero, we recall the old, old story, ever old, 
yet ever new, that when it was the will of 
the Father to lift humanity out of wretchedness and 
bondage, the precious task was delegated to him who 
among ten thousand was altogether lovely, and was will- 
ing to make himself of no reputation that he might save 
and lift up others. 

If that heart could throb and if those lips could speak, 
what would be the sentiment and words that Robert 
Gould Shaw would have us feel and speak at this hour ? 
He would not have us dwell long on the mistakes, the 
injustice, the criticisms of the days 

" Of storm and cloud, of doubt and fears 
Across the eternal sky must lower 
Before the glorious noon appears." 

He would have us bind up with his own undying fame 
and memory, and retain by the side of his monument, the 
name of John A. Andrew, who, with prophetic vision 
and strong arm helped make the existence of the 54th 
Regiment possible ; and that of George L. Stearns, who, 
with hidden generosity and a great sweet heart, helped 
to turn the darkest hour into day, and in doing so freely 

9 1 

address of gave service, fortune, and life itself to the cause which 
Washington this day commemorates. Nor would he have us forget 
those brother officers, living and dead, who, by their 
baptism in blood and fire, in defense of union and free- 
dom, gave us an example of the highest and purest 

To you who fought so valiantly in the ranks, the 
scarred and scattered remnant of the 54th Regiment, who 
with empty sleeve and wanting leg have honored this 
occasion with your presence, — to you your commander 
is not dead. Though Boston erected no monument, and 
history recorded no story, in you and the loyal race 
which you represent, Robert Gould Shaw would have a 
monument which time could not wear away. 

But an occasion like this is too great, too sacred, for 
mere individual eulogy. The individual is the instru- 
ment, national virtue the end. That which was three 
hundred years being woven into the warp and woof of 
our democratic institutions could not be effaced by a 
single battle, as magnificent as was that battle; that 
which for three centuries had bound master and slave, 
yea, North and South, to a body of death, could not be 
blotted out by four years of war, could not be atoned for 
by shot and sword, nor by blood and tears. 

Not many days ago, in the heart of the South, in a 
large gathering of the people of my race, there were 
heard from many lips praises and thanksgiving to God 
for his goodness in setting them free from physical slavery. 
In the midst of that assembly a Southern white man 
arose, with gray hair and trembling hands, the former 
owner of many slaves, and from his quivering lips there 
came the words : " My friends, you forget in your rejoi- 
cing that in setting you free God was also good to me 
and my race in setting us free." But there is a higher 

and deeper sense in which both races must be free than 


that represented by the bill of sale. The black man who address of 
cannot let love and sympathy go out to the white man is Washington 
but half free. The white man who would close the shop 
or factory against a black man seeking an opportunity to 
earn an honest living is but half free. The white man 
who retards his own development by opposing a black 
man is but half free. The full measure of the fruit of 
Fort Wagner and all that this monument stands for will 
not be realized until every man covered by a black skin 
shall, by patience and natural effort, grow to that height in 
industry, property, intelligence, and moral responsibility, 
where no man in all our land will be tempted to degrade 
himself by withholding from his black brother any op- 
portunity which he himself would possess. 

Until that time comes, this monument will stand for 
effort, not victory complete. What these heroic souls of 
the 54th Regiment began, we must complete. It must 
be completed not in malice, nor narrowness, nor artificial 
progress, nor in efforts at mere temporary political gain, 
nor in abuse of another section or race. Standing as I 
do to-day in the home of Garrison and Phillips and Sum- 
ner, my heart goes out to those who wore the gray as 
well as to those clothed in blue, to those who returned 
defeated to destitute homes, to face blasted hopes and 
shattered political and industrial system. To them there 
can be no prouder reward for defeat than by a supreme 
effort to place the negro on that footing where he will 
add material, intellectual, and civil strength to every 
department of state. 

This work must be completed in public school, indus- 
trial school, and college. The most of it must be com- 
pleted in the effort of the negro himself ; in his effort to 
withstand temptation, to economize, to exercise thrift, to 
disregard the superficial for the real, the shadow for 
the substance, to be great and yet small ; in his effort to 


address of be patient in the laying of a firm foundation, to so grow 


Washington in skill and knowledge that he shall place his services in 
demand by reason of his intrinsic and superior worth. 
This, this is the key that unlocks every door of oppor- 
tunity, and all others fail. In this battle of peace, the 
rich and poor, the black and white may have a part. 

What lesson has this occasion for the future ? What 
of hope, what of encouragement, what of caution ? 
" Watchman, tell us of the night, what the signs of 
promise are." If through me, an humble representative, 
nearly ten millions of my people might be permitted to 
send a message to Massachusetts, to the survivors of the 
54th Regiment, to the committee whose untiring energy 
has made this memorial possible, to the family who gave 
their only boy that we might have life more abundantly, 
that message would be : Tell them that the sacrifice was 
not in vain, that up from the depths of ignorance and 
poverty we are coming, and if we come through oppres- 
sion, out of the struggle we are gaining strength ; by 
way of the school, the well-cultivated field, the skilled 
hand, the Christian home, we are coming up ; that we 
propose to invite all who will to step up and occupy this 
position with us. Tell them that we are learning that 
standing ground for a race, as for an individual, must be 
laid in intelligence, industry, thrift, and property, not as 
an end, but as a means to the highest privileges ; that we 
are learning that neither the conqueror's bullet, nor fiat 
of law, could make an ignorant voter an intelligent voter, 
could make a dependent man an independent man, could 
give one citizen respect for another, a bank account, 
a foot of land, or an enlightened fireside. Tell them 
that, as grateful as we are to artist and patriotism for 
placing the figures of Shaw and his comrades in physical 
form of beauty and magnificence, that after all the real 
monument, the greater monument, is being slowly but 


safely builded among the lowly in the South, in the address by 
struggles and sacrifices of a race to justify all that has Washington 
been done and suffered for it. 

One of the wishes that lay nearest to Colonel Shaw's 
heart was, that his black troops might be permitted to 
fight by the side of white soldiers. Have we not lived to 
see that wish realized, and will it not be more so in the 
future ? Not at Wagner, not with rifle and bayonet, but 
on the field of peace, in the battle of industry, in the 
struggle for good government, in the lifting up of the 
lowest to the fullest opportunities. In this we shall fight 
by the side of white men North and South. And if this 
be true, as under God's guidance it will, that old flag, 
that emblem of progress and security which brave Ser- 
geant Carney never permitted to fall upon the ground, 
will still be borne aloft by Southern soldier and Northern 
soldier, and in a more potent and higher sense we shall 
all realize that 

" The slave's chain and the master's 
Alike are broken. 
The one curse of the races 

Held both in tether : 
They are rising, — all are rising, 
The black and white together ! " 


,HE pressure of anxiety upon the Committee 
during twenty years of endeavor has given 
place to serenity and thankfulness over the 
successful issue of their labors, and they desire to 
acknowledge their indebtedness to those who have con- 
tributed to this success. 

To our Treasurer, Mr. Edward Atkinson, for his 
skillful management of the funds, for his untiring watch- 
fulness over the work of the sculptor, and for his unvary- 
ing cheerfulness. 

To the sculptor, Mr. St. Gaudens, who lost himself in 
his work. 

To the architect, Mr. McKim, whose labor of love to 
his friend has enhanced the value of the work of the 

To the Chaplain for his fervent prayer, stirring the 

To our chosen orators, Professor James and Professor 
Washington, for their eloquent and sympathetic ad- 

To his Excellency the Governor and His Honor the 
Mayor, who, inspired by the occasion, imparted their 
inspiration to their hearers. 

To Mr. Thorndike, who organized the chorus. 

To Mr. Osgood and to the chorus he led, for their 
uplifting strains. 

To Chief Marshal Appleton for his labors prolonged 
through many weeks in planning, and then in marshal- 


a last word ing the numerous bodies of soldiers and sailors compos- 
ing the escort, — and arranging the official guests and 
audience within the Music Hall, — promptly, skillfully, 
patiently, courteously. 

To the loving zeal of these, each in his sphere, we 
owe the remarkable success of the memorial and of the 
services at its dedication which so moved the assembled 

Henry Lee, 
Martin P. Kennard, 

For the Committee. 
















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